I’ve recently been asked to join a new Health Website thing called PeoplesMD. Chances are you’ve never heard of them, until I received the email neither had I… or maybe you’ve also received The Email and know more about this than I do…
PeoplesMD is an American-based website attempting to use the Digg.com model but strictly for health care related stories. Basically you, User, would submit articles about health related issues and we, Other Users, would check them out and vote on them and, if your link receives enough votes, your life is that much closer to being Complete.
According to PeoplesMD the people who sign up and submit the articles will be called ‘Health Heroes’, “Anyone can be a Health Hero by posting a great link or creating a helpful guide about any health & wellness topic…even the most obscure or rare facet of managing a health challenge.” Basically you’re being given a chance to cure me.
I was approached through email by Rhona Berens, one of the “co-founders” of the site who wrote “you’re what I imagine a Health Hero to be: you write honestly from experience and offer insights that help others. Your posts are the kinds of resources we want to include on our site, especially as we’re building content during our beta phase. That’s why I just posted about Salted Lithium.”
And she did… in her Review, published on PeoplesMD, she wrote: “We’d prefer not to over-use the word ‘poetic’ when describing Bipolar blogs, but it’s an apt term to describe Gabriel’s wonderful musings on Salted Lithium. Here, he shares insights about what he refers to as his recovery from Bipolar Disorder, including his journey on meds.” It goes on from there.
They’ve reviewed a bunch of other blogs about Recovery in a similar manner, including several which can be found in my blogroll.
In her introductory email she wrote:
My name’s Rhona. I’m one of the founders of a new website, called PeoplesMD. I’m writing because I think your blog, Salted Lithium, is great… I so wish that my dad was still around to benefit from blogs like yours. My dad was Bipolar… and growing up in Toronto with him, and his struggles with what was then called Manic Depression, helped inspire me to work on PeoplesMD.
From what I can find, based on Google-ing the names available on their About page, they seem fairly genuine. But personally I think their policy of “There are no censors and no limits. Everyone on PeoplesMD has a voice, and every link has an equal chance of making it onto the home page” is going to be its biggest flaw…
When groups are formed it’s pretty rare for the group to have more than one opinion… when you put two groups with divergent opinions together it becomes a race to the extremes, not to the middle. With the overall medical aspect of the site I don’t see a problem… cancer is cancer and AIDS is AIDS, there are no pseudo-religions out there trying to prove cancer doctors are Evil incarnate. But there is one trying to prove anti-depressants are poison, psychiatrists are an evil cabal and mental illness can be cured by believing in the power of a crap science fiction writer.
I’m really not sure having people who are recovering from mental illness getting together in a central location with deluded cultists is going to be a great idea for said recovery. It’s hard enough getting ourselves out of the house in the morning… if we’ve got ten comments from X3nu and L. Ron on our blog telling us we’re in desperate need of an audit it’s just going to make it that much harder.
I like the idea, the concept, of having a central clearinghouse for recovery ideas. I’ve been thinking of something similar myself, actually I’ve posted about the idea several times.
But Digg recently changed it’s voting structure algorithm thingee to allow a greater number of posts onto the front page because there were groups of Diggers just sitting on the site voting for each others post. So if PeoplesMD takes off I would not be surprised if their Manic Depression Area became dominated by anti-psychiatrist and anti-medication Believers feverishly tapping their vote buttons because, well… Believers usually have incentives.
PeoplesMD has already set me up with an account… which is actually kind of creepy because they’ve already built my profile by scalping my About Page and my Avatar, but I’ll be going through the site and trying to figure it all out. I do believe, if it works, the upside will be greater than the downside… in terms of getting health information out to people having a central space to go sounds like a really good idea.
If you’re up for becoming a Citizen Doctor, their site is in Beta… maybe let me know if you think it’s something worthwhile.